Washington DC
27 March 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Copyright leadership role a target of reform


Legislation has been introduced in Congress to make the head of the US Copyright Office a presidential appointee.

The House of Representatives judiciary committee, led by chair Bob Goodlatte, introduced the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act on 23 March.

Under proposed bill, the head of the Copyright Office, known as the register of copyrights, would be a presidential appointee subject to Senate confirmation. Terms would be limited to 10 years, although they would be renewable.

Goodlatte, along with the bill’s co-sponsors, said in a joint statement: “America’s creativity is the envy of the world and the Copyright Office is at the centre of it. With the current register serving only on an acting basis, now is the time to make changes to ensure that future registers are transparent and accountable to Congress.”

“We must ensure that any new register is a good manager and fully qualified to lead and make this office more operationally effective as he or she continues to directly advise Congress on copyrights. The next register of copyrights should be dedicated to serving all stakeholders in the copyright ecosystem.”

Maria Pallante stepped down from the role in 2016, declining offers for a new position as senior adviser for digital strategy. Karyn Temple Claggett is acting head of the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office has been a target for reform for years. Goodlatte and the House judiciary committee have been considering changes since 2013, and said in December last year that its management was a top priority following extensive discussions with stakeholders.

Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), welcomed the introduction of the legislation.

He said: “The MPAA applauds the introduction in the House of bipartisan legislation making the register of copyrights a position nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The existing structure was created more than 120 years ago. Since then, the American creative economy has seen exponential growth—and now employs more than 5.5 million US workers, while contributing more than $1.2 trillion to GDP.”

“Importantly, the legislation will enable the American people and all interested parties to provide input through their elected officials into the selection of the register. Once this targeted legislation is enacted, Congress will be able to focus on the broader task of modernising the Copyright Office.”

Members of Congress reintroduced bipartisan legislation last month aimed at modernising the Copyright Office and housing it under the legislative branch of government.

Tom Marino and Judy Chu reintroduced the Copyright Office for the Digital Economy (CODE) Act on 8 February. The improvements housed in the act would include ongoing technology studies to ensure the office remains current with technology, the establishment of an advisory board and technical provisions to ensure a seamless transition away from the Library of Congress.

More Copyright news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
EU Copyright Directive “compromise amendments” revealed
22 February 2018 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
EU rapporteur Axel Voss has proposed “compromise amendments” to article 13 of the EU's Copyright Directive, which would further shift the burden of responsibility for copyright infringement to internet platforms
IPTV supplier fined £18,000
14 February 2018 | Harrow | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A pre-loaded IPTV box supplier must pay a £18,000 fine for selling illicit streaming devices online, as well as breaching the Premier League’s copyright
IFPI calls for “effective solution” to value gap
07 February 2018 | Brussels | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), with the support of 23 other creative industry organisations, has penned a letter to the new presidency of the European Council asking it provide an “effective solution” to the so-
New trial ordered in BMG v Cox
06 February 2018 | Virginia | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has overturned a $25 million damages award for BMG Rights Management and ordered a new trial in its dispute with Cox Communications
CRB issues royalty rate hike for music streaming services
05 February 2018 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase royalty payments to songwriters and music publishers from music streaming services by nearly 44 percent
Grumpy Cat wins copyright lawsuit
25 January 2018 | California | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The owner of internet sensation ‘Grumpy Cat’ has won a copyright infringement lawsuit against Grenade Beverage
Radiohead sue Lana Del Rey for copyright infringement
8 January 2018 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Radiohead are suing Lana Del Rey for copyright infringement, claiming that the Del Rey’s 2017 song Get Free was similar to their 1992 song Creep